First Timers, Here's a Step-by-Step Guide to Using Your Instant Pot Like a Pro
This was the year I decided to join the Instant Pot fan club, and I'm never going back. Instant Pot recipes are easy, stress-free, and can be found anywhere and everywhere. Whatever you're planning to cook, the Instant Pot can handle it — from rice and stews to eggs and even dessert. If you're ready to step in the kitchen without making a mess and want to be able to turn your back on the food you're cooking, investing in an Instant Pot may just be the best decision you'll ever make. It may seem confusing to navigate at first, but this step-by-step guide to figuring out your Instant Pot will have you cranking out meals in no time.
The first step is to remain calm. If this is your first time using an Instant Pot, all the different buttons can get overwhelming. Don't get intimated by all the settings, though. Every setting still pressure cooks, but are just programmed to specific cooking times.
Make sure you're familiar with all parts of the Instant Pot. You have your base unit, which is where the cord gets attached for plugging into an outlet. The inner pot is placed into the base unit to hold the food you will be cooking. The lid lock goes on top to seal the Instant Pot shut.
If you're using a different pan to pressure cook in rather than the inner pot, use the trivet to securely place it in the base unit. Lastly, you may need foil to help keep certain foods moist or to help remove a pan without hurting yourself.
Now, it's time to get familiar with the settings. All the buttons that appear with a food name on them means that the time is predesignated. The pressure level button allows you to select between high and low. The plus and minus buttons adjust the cooking time accordingly.
When you are ready to add your ingredients into the inner pot, you want to be very cautious of the line indicated on the inside. This number, 2/3, is the pressure cooker's maximum line. Overfilling beyond this line may put your Instant Pot at risk by clogging the ventilation.
Depending on the recipe you're using, follow the steps for adding ingredients and choosing the settings. It's important to know that once the cooking is done, the stay warm setting will automatically turn on.
Once you know what you're cooking, select a dish or click pressure cook if your recipe does not use an predesignated button, like for rice or soup. Then, select the pressure level and use the plus and minus button to set the timer.
You will probably see the word "on" pop up on the screen and the timer will disappear. This means the pressure is building up and the Instant Pot is preheating. It will automatically switch to the timer once it is at the right pressure.
Seal the lid on tight and twist it left to shut. Make sure the handles align on the left and right side. The Instant Pot will make a sound effect to tell you it's sealed properly.
After the lid is secured, make sure the ventilation knob is completely turned to the sealed setting. No steam should be released.
Once the Instant Pot beeps to indicate the cooking time is over, there are two ways to depressurize it. The first method is natural release, which can take 10 minutes or more. Recipes that have more liquid will naturally take longer to depressurize, so just be patient. The other method is quick release, which requires you to switch the knob down to the venting setting. Steam will then shoot out from the release knob.
Be wary that if you choose to use the quick release method with more starchy recipes, it is very likely that some food will bubble out, too.
Once the Instant Pot has completely depressurized, you can take the lid off. Twist the lid to the right to open it.
Last but not least, clean your Instant Pot properly. This step is very simple. Just make sure to wash the inner pot with soap and water using a sponge. Then wipe down the exterior, paying particular attention to the area near the valve, as residue can collect there.